There is arguably no more iconic anime in history than Dragon Ball Z. Most of its fans grew up on the show and are still die-hard fans into their twenties and thirties. We lived and breathed these characters through our high school years. Even nowadays many of us will face a difficult situation and whisper quietly to ourselves: what would Goku do? But perhaps it’s not Goku who is best to turn to, depending on what kind of person you are. Perhaps you would be better off asking yourself what Vegeta or Piccolo or Android 18 would do. So, let’s examine what makes these characters as beloved to us as they are through the science of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®.
10. Goku: The Entertainer (ESFP-A)
The protagonist of our show is, ironically, not The Protagonist, but instead a man who entertains. This is what makes him a man so dear to our hearts. As the perfect anime "strong man," he's a man who doesn’t bleed hyper-masculinity. Instead, he's a good father, an inspiration, and a role model for his children (and the children who grew up with his screams and shouts echoing from their TVs every evening after school).
Goku, at his heart, is a happy, jolly, smiling, Santa Claus kind of guy. He's all jokes and no angst. His personality may well be the secret ingredient that makes this show stand tall in a sea of angry shonen teenage anguish.
9. Vegeta: The Commander (ENTJ, -A/-T)
Fittingly, Vegeta has the personality most suited for a man who could lead an army (or, perhaps, a planet that shares his name). The fan-favorite villain-turned-hero might have a bit of an inferiority complex as he always walks in Kakarot’s shadow. Time and time again, however, Vegeta takes charge and bites the bullet; he's far more dependable than our protagonist.
Vegeta is the kind of commander who, when no door presents itself, he makes one — using nothing more than a solid brick wall and one of his closed fists. He may not be everyone’s ideal commander, but he has almost always gotten the job done.
8. Gohan: The Defender (ISFJ-T)
Following in your father’s footsteps is a daunting task for a normal boy inheriting, say, the family business. Imagine if your family business was saving the world–sometimes the galaxy–from villains of ever-escalating power levels; you’d likely not wish that on many sons. But Gohan is a defender; a boy with a personality tailor-made for the job. He's far more than that of his dear ol’ dad, which is why, at the climax of the Cell Saga, Gohan proves his defender status at the eleventh hour with pomp and splendor. Defender of all, big or small, Gohan is more Superman than his Superman dad (who could probably beat Superman).
7. Krillin: The Consul (ESFJ)
As Consul to not only Goku, but all of the Z Fighters (except, perhaps, Vegeta), Krillin is very much a voice of reason first and a warrior second. Although this doesn’t mean he can’t hold his own in a fight, especially in the anime’s earlier sagas.
Ever since the original Dragon Ball, Krillin has existed as Goku’s shoulder angel. On close inspection, Krillin and Gohan share a lot of personalities. This is darn good writing; as Goku gets older and stronger, the responsibility of keeping him in check switches from his best friend to his son. That’s clever
6. Piccolo: The Architect (INTJ, -A/-T)
The original bad-guy-turned-good; the man who stole away Gohan to train him to be a fighter like his dad is very much the architect of the ensemble. He’s the cold calculator to Vegeta’s hot-headed aggression; the realistic strategist to Goku’s impulsive recklessness. Piccolo’s power begins to fall behind as the Saiyans get super, but his mind is never less than essential when the odds are stacked even further against them. While Goku was content with letting his son enjoy his childhood (wild ape transformation and all), Piccolo took charge and became the architect of his future.
5. Yamcha: The Entrepreneur (ESTP, -A/-T)
Only so many characters have the privilege of becoming a meme; A meme which has helped keep his legacy alive, no less. Originally a bandit, briefly a villain, and then a lifelong friend to Goku, Yamcha is one with perhaps the most similar personality to Goku. In the original Dragon Ball, the witty banter of young Goku and Yamcha gave the manga a brisk pace. Quick-witted and tough to pin down, Yamcha is a simple, lovelorn fighter with a heart of gold. Plus, his best friend is a floating cat, bringing his personality’s power level up far beyond 9,000 (sorry, not sorry).
4. Android 18: The Executive (ESTJ, -A/-T)
As you make your way down this list, you might be surprised by how many villains become friends to Goku. Perhaps they’re simply won over by his entertainer personality? Though this is less true for 18, who is (for reasons nobody can comprehend) far more taken with Krillin than Goku. Her cold, sarcastic personality is exactly what Krillin doesn’t need, given his consul personality, but the heart wants what the heart wants. The dark, dry humor of Android 18 proves irresistible to the sweetest of the Z Fighters. Cold as her circuits, 18’s lack of emotion is a true asset to this motley crew of loud, hot-headed manly men.
3. Trunks: The Protagonist (ENFJ, -A/-T)
Yes, you’re right, Trunks’ introduction was the best in shonen anime history. Nobody will disagree with you, there. And from this epic introduction to his character, we have a future Trunks who is stoic, strong, pragmatic, and powerful. We also have a young Trunks who is ambitious, bright, savvy, funny, and already so strong. This long list of adjectives perfectly encapsulates our ideal protagonist. As a fighter, friend, and foe, Trunks is all but perfect. Unfortunately, an actual protagonist with this much angst and style just doesn’t have the charm of our Goku. But a fan-favorite he certainly is.
2. Goten: The Logistician (ISTJ, -A/-T)
We know two Gotens: the son of Goku and brother of Gohan. This one is a sweet boy, wide-eyed, and curious. Then there’s the friend of Trunks, the other half of the fusion Gotenks. This Goten is the yang to Trunks’ yin. For every crazy scheme Trunks hatches; for every dangerous mission Trunks drags Goten along on, Goten is always the pragmatist. It’s easy to see, in fact, the impact that Goten has on Trunks, as Trunks from the future shares so much of that pragmatism with Goten. Once again, this is some gosh darn good writing right here.
1. Videl: The Logician (INTP, -A/-T)
Videl is the all-purpose voice of reason. When her partner, Gohan, needs a strong jolt of confidence, Videl is there to provide. When her father, Hercule, is being reckless and careless, Videl is there to keep him safe and offer some words of care. Arguably the smartest member of the Dragon Ball family, Videl has a kind of wonderful emotional logic. She is a logician, to be sure, but one so emotionally invested in everyone around her; from her father who, despite his ridiculous arrogance, is still the world’s strongest man, to her boyfriend and his eccentric family who are, each of them, mad as a hatter.